Love is in the air – well maybe not any more. Valentine’s Day has come and gone and maybe it’s just not working out any more. Whether it is a long term marriage or a relationship, not all things are built to last. For those who received no flowers, time to get empowered.
Valentine’s Day can serve as a way to re-evaluate what’s working in your relationship and what isn’t. Sometimes couples find that their relationships can slowly begin to erode and fracture, this can typically come about some time after Valentine’s day. The breakdown of a relationship or a marriage can have huge ramifications on a number of different factors.
Let’s deal with cohabiting couples and separation. We like to advise our clients when entering into a relationship where there are substantial financial assets for example properties you may want to think about protecting these. Typically when couples purchase a Property you may enter into a declaration of trust stating who owns what proportion of the Property. Alternatively you may want to enter into a Cohabitation Agreement. A cohabitation agreement is a legally binding contract which partners, who live together, can enter into. A cohabitation agreement’s purpose is to set out what each party would receive should they separate. This can range from property, finance and even regulate contact and holiday with children. A cohabitation agreement can be used to record levels of contribution to the relationship now and in the future. A Cohabitation agreement is an extremely flexible tool and can be ever evolving.
It is essential to take steps to protect assets in the future in the event of a break up, the alternative is to undertake Court proceedings which are incredibly costly and lengthy. If there is a dispute as to the ownership of the property which does not settle then an action under the Trusts of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 may be required. We strongly recommend that you obtain legal advice in order to bring an action under the above.
Moving to married couples and couples in a Civil Partnership it is typical for them to divorce after a severe breakdown in their relationship. We prefer to advise our clients to enter their divorce under two years separation with consent, this is generally the most amicable way of divorcing. In terms of the divorce, this is generally procedural once the grounds are agreed. The main dispute arises in relation to the distribution of the matrimonial assets. If the matter can be agreed by consent then it is a matter of preparing the relevant documents and filing them with the Family Courts.
Should you be unable to divorce under 2 years separation by consent, purely down to the fact that not enough time has elapsed but you would like to have the finances settled you can enter into a Separation agreement. The Separation Agreement can be used to finalise and settle the finances while you wait for the flow of time. The Separation agreement will record the distribution of the assets which are then translated to a consent order which simply needs to be lodged at the Family Court for final approval.
Should the matter be unable to settle then Court proceedings will be required in order to reach a resolution. The Court will consider a number of factors including but not limited to, the parties’ capital assets, income, length of the marriage, children, housing needs, disabilities etc. Generally the starting point for the Court when separating the financial assets is 50/50, the Court are able to deviate from equality but this is affected by the above factors and according to the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are forming a relationship, separating, divorcing or anything in between then please contact our family law team.
We offer a free, 15-minute, pre-bookable phone call with one of our experienced family law team. Alternatively, we offer a fixed £99 fee inc VAT for a 45-minute meeting with one of our highly experienced family team. If you would like some confidential advice about a family legal issue, contact us today to book a meeting. Call 01795 742291 or email firstname.lastname@example.org